Gerry Stickells, tour and production manager for rock legends Jimi Hendrix, Queen, and Elton John, among many others, died last month after suffering complications from a brain tumour.
The 76-year-old was born in Lydd, England. He left school at 15 and became an apprentice mechanic, then a roadie for a then largely unknown Jimi Hendrix very early in the guitarist’s career.
After Hendrix died, Mr. Stickells managed his Manhattan recording studio, Electric Lady, and then moved to Los Angeles, where he turned the roles of tour and production manager into a global business. He teamed with Chris Lamb to form G.L.S. Productions, which handled every aspect of live music touring and production, including staffing, travel, trucking, ticketing, lighting and stage rigging.
“We met on an Elton John tour, and he was the most experienced guy I had ever encountered,” Mr. Lamb told Projection Lights and Staging News. “He knew how to handle every situation.”
Through Elton’s manager, John Reid, Gerry and Chris found another client in Queen, in the 1970s. They helped fulfill the group’s ambitions for the lavish stage spectacles it became known for.
Queen's Brian May and Roger Taylor paid tribute. The former wrote:
Roger described Gerry as “the world’s greatest tour manager” whilst revealing that he’d passed away “after a long struggle with illness.”
He added: “He was more than a tour manager to Queen – he was a father figure, great friend and teacher and an island of calm in the midst of chaos. He had a profound effect on my life, all of it good.''
Gerry, who also worked with Madonna, Paul McCartney, and Bette Midler, is survived by his wife Sylvia and three sisters.